Scheduling in an uncertain environment remains a meaningful yet challenging direction of research. In this paper, we consider a new scheduling setting from practical complex business applications, where resources (e.g., raw materials) used for processing jobs arrive randomly, due to reasons such as unstable transportation service caused by extreme weather conditions, unreliable suppliers, unpredictable industrial actions, etc. Further, jobs must be processed one by one and preemption is not allowed. The processing times of jobs are not known but their distribution. We incorporate these factors into a stochastic single-machine scheduling model and examine two different common types of objectives: minimizing total expected weighted completion time and minimizing total expected weighted squared completion time. We derive and prove a natural and intuitive optimal policy for the model with the first objective. Besides, we find that, under some mild conditions, the well-known policy in stochastic scheduling, WSEPT (weighted shortest expected processing time), still holds optimal for achieving either of objectives. The numerical example further supports and illustrates our results, which provide decision-makers insights into tricky uncertain scheduling problems.
Stochastic scheduling Completion times Squared completion time
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This work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71501093, 71501090), the Basic Research Foundation (Natural Science) of Jiangsu Province (Grant No. BK20150566).
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